More Wein

The Weinstein scandal keeps starting ever-more-awkward conversations.

Like many Americans who have known Hollywood to be morally debauched since its inception but thought it would always be granted a pass by the media, we were astonished that the Weinstein sex abuse scandal broke into public discussion at all.  Those on the political left, which includes just about all of Hollywood, have a long history of getting away with sexual assault, particularly if they buy immunity from criticism by promoting progressive causes such as attacking the NRA, supporting gay rights, donating to Planned Parenthood, or vocally seeming to align themselves with whatever cause progressives favor.

It's both encouraging and heartwarming to see that a number of other loathsome men, some of them even Democrats, have been criticized for mistreating women.  Anyone with sense mourned when President Clinton got a pass for doing that because his example could only lead other men to think they could get away with it.  Indeed, many of this latest batch did, for decades on end, starting long before President Clinton's example made such behavior acceptable at the highest positions in the land.

It's natural to hope that the current furore will lead to improved behavior on the part of predators on both sides of the aisle, but there are contradictions which will have to be resolved along the way:

  • Historically, sexual abuse was committed only by Republicans; anything done by Democrats was a misunderstanding or a "bimbo eruption."  The current batch of leftists now under the harsh illumination of truth and condemnation are major Democrat donors, to be sure, but aside from their fat checkbooks, they have no political power.  It remains to be seen whether truly important Democrats who wield real power are still above criticism.
  • It's not clear how the pro-choice feminist crowd will react to some of the accounts of how women interacted with Mr. Weinstein.  Some of them have defended Mr. Weinstein and been pilloried; some have been applauded for coming out with decades old accusations that can't possibly be proved true or false at this remove.
  • Women reacted very differently to being propositioned by Mr. Weinstein. Their accounts show conclusively that the modern feminist mantra that men and women react to physical interaction in the same way is false - but are we allowed to notice this?
  • What about due process?  How do we adjudicate such charges?  Is it OK just to destroy people when social media accumulates a lot of accusations, or do we have to go to court?  Mr. Weinstein freely admits availing themselves of the pleasures of countless Hollywood starlets whose careers he lofted, but since none of them were employees, this was all legal so long as he didn't physically force them, a subtlety which can't be proved so long after the fact.  He's clearly a corrupt and vile scumbag, but in America, we traditionally require actual proof before destroying someone, never mind judging someone to be a felon and locking them up.

We don't know how these issues will play out, but we're glad that several long-overdue conversations have at least been started.  As with most such conversations, though, they may not go where their originators intended.

The Politics of Sexual Abuse

Although it was no surprise that conservatives such as Clarence Thomas, Herman Cain, Roger Ailes, and Bill O'Reilly were accused of sexual abuse, we focus on the disgrace of Senator Packwood (R).  In 1998, the LA Times reported that Senator Packwood, having been accused of assaulting at least 17 women, had resigned from the Senate before he could be expelled.

We're particularly interested in his case because it came a scant few months before President Bill Clinton was impeached for lying about his sexual interactions with Monica Lewinsky.  Hillary fiercely defended him, blaming the "vast right-wing conspiracy" and "bimbo eruptions" for the accusations.  Mr. Clinton was acquitted on all charges even though, as the Washington Post reported, at least 21 women had been involved with him, and some of them suffered violence.

Even in the era of fervent Weinstein-hatred, Mr. Clinton is still getting a pass.  The LA Times wrote:

"We live in a time when the president of the United States is a self-confessed sexual abuser,"

They're asserting that Mr. Trump (R), the current president, has treated women inappropriately, which could well be true, but what about former president Bill Clinton (D)?  Are they trying to end sexual assault, or just wanting to throw rocks at Mr. Trump?  As long as Mr. Clinton escapes criticism, other predatory men will assume that they can, too.

Until leftists add Bill Clinton's name to the list of abusers and heap well-deserved scorn on him, it seems likely that these protests will die out when they've gotten as much political mileage from the issue as they can.  If we're going to take down plaques dedicated to George Washington because he owned slaves, what about monuments to "Chappaquiddick Ted" Kennedy (D), who abandoned a woman to die of suffocation in his car after he drove off a bridge into the water?

A Ray of Hope

To our amazement, just before our article went to press, we found that the Washington Post put most of the blame for our long history of abuse of women on Bill Clinton where it belongs.

... another slice of his [Bill Clinton] legacy can't be ignored - the trickle-down effect of his womanizing, his DNA-proved extramarital involvement with Monica Lewinsky in the nation's most important workplace and the couple's treatment of women overall, from "bimbo eruptions" to Paula Jones [who won a $390,000 settlement from the Clintons - ed] to Juanita Broaddrick.  [emphasis added]

The behavior of adults at the top of the food chain seeps into the culture and can't be extracted from events of the future.

What's even more encouraging is that although the article was titled "A quarter-century of Clintons" when we first saw it, the URL to the article is "this-is-all-bill-clintons-fault."  We suspected that the original title had been "This is all Bill Clinton's fault," with which we strongly agree.  When we looked later, the title was "This is all Bill Clinton's fault" as it should have been all along.  Kudos to Kathleen Parker!  She spoke truth to power and made it stick!

Those of us with daughters and nieces were appalled when Bill Clinton (D) was acquitted on all charges by the US Senate, particularly as the senate had just forced Senator Packwood (R) to resign for the same offense.

Although Bill and Hillary Clinton jointly deserve a great deal of blame, the practice of giving Democrats a free pass didn't start with them.  The Post's writer may not remember that the body language in the video of Marilyn Monroe singing "Happy Birthday" to President John Fitzgerald Kennedy suggested strongly that she had made a habit of sneaking into the White House for intimate purposes.  Everybody knew about it, but nobody talked about it because it was OK, he was a Democrat.

The writer may not be aware of flyover country's total bewilderment when JFK's brother Teddy got off with a short suspension of his Massachusetts drivers' license instead of going to jail when he killed Mary Jo Kopechne, an incident which started the tradition of legal settlements containing non-disclosure clauses.  We won't be able to convince predatory men that abusing women will bring trouble no matter how powerful they are unless we visit some of these older matters, but pinning blame on Bill is a good start.

The Post is aware that some of the blame for all of these other assaults should be assigned to the Clintons.

He knew the rules. He didn't care. Or he couldn't control himself. Which is worse is hard to say. Meanwhile, Hillary's dogged pursuit of women claiming to have been targets of her husband's unleashed libido and her ultimate metamorphosis into Tammy Wynette cumulatively displayed a contempt for women rather than for her husband.

It is little wonder, then, that other men of the era didn't feel compelled to curtail their proclivities, or that women felt their power to fight back minimized by the first lady[emphasis added]

Had the Clintons played their cards differently, our country might have become less coarse, and our infantile impulsiveness less pronounced. It might not have taken 25 years for women to find their voices. More men might have treated their female colleagues with greater respect. Who knows? Hillary Clinton might have become president. And Donald Trump, whose disrespect toward women is epic, might not have.

Karma, baby: It's Bubba's fault.

We're glad the original title was put back because in a very real sense, it is all Bubba's fault for legitimizing abuse of women from positions of great power.  Leaders set powerful examples and publicly showing men who're inclined to be predators that they can get away with it is not good for society.  We believe that our sisters, daughters, and all other women ought to be able to take jobs without worrying about being abused.  We hope that the Post going after Slick Willie is the start of the next step.

What About Choice?

Pro-aborts have been arguing vehemently for decades that any woman may abort any baby at any time, and at public expense, no less.  If she's free to do that, she's clearly free to have sex with anyone she chooses, and no one has the right to criticize her choices.

Women figured out generations ago that they have something men want and that this fact of biology offers them opportunity to get what they want.  The more women value what a man possesses, the more they might be willing to do to get it, and vice-versa.

At his prime, Mr. Weinstein could produce movies and persuade the Academy to award Oscars to his actors and actresses.  He has been thanked at the Academy Awards 34 times; Steven Spielberg is the only person who has been thanked more often.

To name but one example, we now know that Gwyneth Paltrow claims to have been sexually harassed by Harvey Weinstein when she was 22; four years later she was tearfully thanking him for his "undying support" from the stage of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion as she clutched her Oscar.

One actress told a variation of the now-common story of being invited to Mr. Weinstein's hotel room for a meeting only to find that he expected a massage after his shower.  She refused, but bargained with him.  He suggested that it could wait until she was nominated for an Oscar.  She countered by demanding that it wouldn't happen until after the Oscar was awarded.

She was duly cast in his movie and got an Oscar.  She didn't say whether she'd paid him off as agreed or not.

If Mr. Weinstein didn't force himself on her and she paid him in the agreed manner after winning the Oscar, what's wrong with that?  Isn't she free to choose?  Does the fact that prostitution is illegal in most states make any difference?

Again, excluding any use of force which cannot be proved, Mr. Weinstein appears less the Devil Incarnate and more the world's most generous john!  Countless women sell themselves; relatively few of their customers are willing or able to compensate them for services rendered by helping them achieve international fame and enormous fortunes.

Traditionalists are appalled at the breakdown of our societal morality, but doesn't the pro-choice crowd think that prostitution should be legalized as in Nevada?  If not, doesn't that infringe the natural right of a woman to choose to monetize her assets as she thinks best?  Or do traditional sexual customs and roles actually protect women instead of confining them as the Victorians believed?

Men and Women are Different

We've noted that claiming that men and women just might have somewhat different feelings and interests is a good way to get in trouble.  Yet it's transparently obvious that there are huge differences between the genders, and many accounts of Mr. Weinstein's escapades add supporting evidence.

The Atlantic described one woman's experience:

I co-wrote and starred in two films and was very fortunate when they were programmed at Sundance in 2011.

This woman had already established herself in the film industry and was not in the position of someone desperate enough to do "whatever it took" to break into the business.

I, too, went to the meeting thinking that perhaps my entire life was about to change for the better. I, too, was asked to meet him in a hotel bar. I, too, met a young, female assistant there who said the meeting had been moved upstairs to his suite because he was a very busy man. I, too, felt my guard go up but was calmed by the presence of another woman my age beside me. I, too, felt terror in the pit of my stomach when that young woman left the room and I was suddenly alone with him. I, too, was asked if I wanted a massage, champagne, strawberries. I, too, sat in that chair paralyzed by mounting fear when he suggested we shower together. What could I do? How not to offend this man, this gatekeeper, who could anoint or destroy me?

It was clear that there was only one direction he wanted this encounter to go in, and that was sex or some version of an erotic exchange. I was able to gather myself together-a bundle of firing nerves, hands trembling, voice lost in my throat-and leave the room.

I later sat in my hotel room alone and wept. I wept because I had gone up the elevator when I knew better. I wept because I had let him touch my shoulders. I wept because at other times in my life, under other circumstances, I had not been able to leave[emphasis added]

She was traumatized by Mr. Weinstein's gambit even though she had considerable experience in the entertainment field and she did not have sex with him.  Other women have described great trauma, in some cases even though they had refused to fulfill Mr. Weinstein's desires.

Have we heard of any man being traumatized by a lady attempting - and not successfully perpetrating - sexual assault on him?  The very question is absurd.

It's clear that men and women have totally different reactions to sex.  This has been known for a long time:

Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.  Psalm 19:5

The groom has just sealed his marriage, and how does he react?  He feels like Superman, he's ready to leap tall buildings at a single bound!

What about her?  Cultural traditions in all societies going back thousands of years regard opening herself to a man to be humbling to a woman.  The opposite simply isn't so.

Less politically-correct publications feel free to point out the differences:

Raising a daughter who grows up feeling strong, capable, and supported is as important as ever.  [emphasis added]

Would anyone say that it's important for a son to grow up "feeling supported"?  It used to be said of a virtuous daughter that she had been "gently reared."  Parents try to raise sons who are strong and capable, but the goal is to prepare a son to be independent of his parents and be able to set up a separate household and to support himself, not to support him.

We hope that all the back and forth on this matter will convince the feminists that men and women might be at least a little different in their reactions to sex - their approach to organizing society hasn't made for happy relationships for either gender.  As noted feminist liberal Camille Paglie wisely noted:

Leaving sex to the feminists is like letting your dog vacation at the taxidermist.

What About Due Process?

Rape was taken seriously in the past; Deuteronomy 22:23-27 defines it as a capital offense to be punished by stoning.  Nobody suggests that rapists should go unpunished or that accusations should not be taken seriously, but accusations must be verified.  The fact that some accusations are, let us say, a bit shy on truth, is well known.  The bible decrees punishment for false accusations:

If a false witness rise up against any man to testify against him that which is wrong; Then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges, which shall be in those days; And the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother; Then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother: so shalt thou put the evil away from among youDeuteronomy 19:16-19

Judges were responsible for separating true accusations from falsehoods so as to "put the evil away from among you."  Although sexual abuse does great damage and deserves harsh punishment, our horror at the Weinstein scandal is no reason to give up our responsibility to assess whether accusations are true or not.  Not all accusers' claims are equal - it is preposterous to assume that "all rape accusations are true" as so many feminists claim, even without the abundant proof of such travesties of justice as the Duke lacrosse rape case.

Opinions differ on how to handle rape accusations.  Having complained about "bimbo eruptions" when her husband was accused of assaulting women, Hillary has repeatedly changed her mind on the subject.  Snopes reports:

On 14 September 2015 Hillary Clinton posted a tweet:

"To every survivor of sexual assault...You have the right to be heard. You have the right to be believed. We're with you." -Hillary

Cached versions of Hillary Clinton's campaign site from 29 January 2016 display her twitter quote, but by 16 August 2016, the quote maintained the "right to be heard," but the right to be believed had been dropped.

Hillary's indecision illustrates how messy resolving abuse accusations becomes.  Back when Kobe Bryant, a famous basketball player, was accused of rape, we explained some of the many difficulties in sorting such accusations out:

A friend of mine was standing behind two young ladies in a checkout line.  It became clear from their discussion of Mr. Bryant that they believed that it was OK for a woman to give consent and then decide she'd been raped if she felt bad about it the next morning.  When he asked them if they were serious, they replied, "It's rape if I decide later that I didn't like it."

By that standard, there's no defense at all against a rape accusation regardless of what happened.  It's clear from the Duke lacrosse case and Rolling Stone's bogus article "A Rape on Campus" that false rape accusations do immense damage.

Even some liberals agree with that, but the question is, what fraction of rape accusations are false?

The Obama administration's letter to colleges commanded that they discard our traditional presumption of innocence.  This made it much more likely that an accused man would be suspended or thrown out, which duly occurred.  At least 25 men have filed lawsuits against their universities, contending that they were denied due process and railroaded by campus rape courts operating under a "presumed guilty" mindset.

A 2010 study of police investigations showed that 5.9% of rape allegations were provably false, but 44.9% "did not proceed" because there was insufficient evidence, the accuser was uncooperative, or the matter did not meet the legal standard of assault.

The fact that 5.9% of rape accusations were provably false doesn't mean that the rest of the accusations were true.  Some of the 44.9% which did not proceed may have been real, others may have been made up, there's no way to tell.  But if even a only 5.9% of accusations are false, is it right to lock up the 5.9% of men who were falsely accused just because the other 94.1% are guilty?  How can we tell?

The book False Allegations: Investigative and Forensic Issues in Fraudulent Reports of Crime is based on the review of decades of scientific literature.  One of the authors reports that on the NYPD's Manhattan Special Victim Squad:

Our false report rate was in the double digits during all of my years.  Sometimes, it was as high as 40 percent...

False reports happen; they are recurrent; and there are laws in place to deal with them when they do.  They are, for lack of a better word, common.

People lie for many reasons.  Some liars seek revenge, some seek money, some desire attention and sympathy, others want to cover some other crime.

Rape is a horrible crime; so is lying about it, that's why the bible urged judges to "put away the evil from among you."  Many women joined the bandwagon when Bill Cosby was accused of rape, but the prosecutor couldn't convince a jury that a crime had occurred.  Mr. Weinstein has been accused over and over and is under police investigation, but no crime has been proved or even charges filed, yet the social media bandwagon seeks to destroy him.

We see the furore over Mr. Weinstein as yet more evidence that the art of journalism is dead.  Journalists should rebuke activists or advocates "steeped in bias, denial or self-interest" who are more concerned with making a point than with finding truth.  The recent flurry of bogus hate crimes which received much wider publicity than the fact that they were false shows that traditional journalism will be sorely missed.

Is this how America does justice?  Is there no longer a presumption of innocence for sexual crimes?  Is that a world anyone wants to live in?  We may be forced to find out.

Will Offensicht is a staff writer for and an internationally published author by a different name.  Read other articles by Will Offensicht or other articles on Law.
Reader Comments

Bill, thank you again for such an insightful and thought provoking article.

I have 2 daughters and 2 sons growing up in the 'it's all out there world' of the internet and traditional media. We need justice to help them all know what it's right and what is totally wrong.... this means there has to be repercussions for wrong actions and accusations for all people

November 7, 2017 8:32 AM
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